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Coronavirus: A youth ministry liveblog

 

We ran this liveblog from March to May 2020 to help youth leaders respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. All the content shared can still be accessed and searched for via the sidebar.

18d ago.

Podcast: Permission to fail

 

We’re creating a special series of the Youthscape podcast, which will continue to appear at semi-regular intervals during the current global crisis.

The latest edition has just gone live; in it, Martin talks to Youthscape's Jemimah Woodbridge, who shares some of her experience leading local youth work in Luton through this lockdown so far. (Check out Jemimah's blog post). Martin and Rachel also talk about whether youth work should be considered as "essential work". This podcast was recorded on Rachel's birthday, so listen out for a bonus mini celebration at the end!

You can listen now here, and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, here.

This week, we want to hear from YOU - our youth worker community. Please get in touch with your stories about how youth work is going: the good, bad and ugly. You could email us or send videos/voice clips. We'd love to share some of them, so all of us feel less alone and can support each other! Get in touch here.

18d ago.

New blog post: Permission to fail - an open letter to the youth ministry community

 

When all we hear are the success stories of youth workers and churches running amazing youth work online, it's easy to get discouraged if that hasn't been our experience. In a new blog post, Jemimah Woodbridge opens up about YS Luton's lockdown experience so far:

"So, here I am, putting my hand up, and daring to say that this period of trying to respond to a totally changed world has been really difficult – to the point that we tried something, and it failed. I’m doing it because I hope it will give others permission to do the same. I waited for that someone else to hold their hands up, but all I see when I look at my social media feeds is glossy, exciting success stories. We need those of course, but we also need to honestly embrace the pain of trying new things."

Hear about the latest Youthscape News & Resources

18d ago.

Youth for Christ: Pray through May

 

Youth for Christ are taking some time in the month of May to pray for young people, and join others to do the same in their campaign "Pray through May". You can find out more about it here, as well as all the other resources available on the YFC website. You can also download a prayer booklet.

 
Liveblog maypray
19d ago.

The Thursday 3x3

 

3 MINUTES, 3 QUESTIONS, EVERY THURSDAY AT 3 O'CLOCK
The Thursday 3x3 is a chance for us to ask Christian youth workers in the UK about lockdown. If that’s you, step right up. Every Thursday at 3pm we’ll ask three questions about you, young people and youth ministry, which should take you about three minutes to answer. Today we’re asking whether you think youth work is an essential service, whether you are noticing any changes in young people’s digital engagement and exploring what you feel you need right now.

This micro-survey is anonymous and the answers will be used to write a short report, which you can read on our blog next Monday.

 
Create your own user feedback survey
19d ago.

New blog post: The Psychological Aftermath of Quarantine

 

What impact could this period of quarantine have on our mental health, and the mental health of the young people we work with? As a Church, what could we be doing to prepare? Gry Apeland explores this in a new Research News blog post:

"What we might need to prepare for instead is to walk slowly with our young people, as we take the first feeble steps together back into what we used to call ‘normal’. Does a group of 20 feel scary? Let’s start with five. Some of us could come out with long-lasting psychological symptoms – let’s have patience for each other. Let’s create a space for young people where it is safe to process this experience, even long after it is over."

20d ago.

Youth Work Support: Staying Well at Home

 

Many young people are currently dealing with the tensions of staying at home. As you try to support them, here's a great resource from the National Youth Agency: "Staying Well at Home: Coping with Feelings of Frustration and Anger". It's a free workbook for young people aged 11-19. Download it here.

 
Liveblog youthworksupport
20d ago.

Liveblog: midweek round-up

 

We’re into the sixth week of lockdown but our liveblog is still going strong. Here are the highlights you may have missed from the last week.

  • There’s been a couple of incredible blog posts appear over the last seven days. Both Martin's Order out of chaos: Creating a Rule of Life and Rachel’s Is TV's Sex Lockdown "Too Hot to Handle?" are definitely worth checking out!
  • Mark Arnold was a guest on the Friday podcast and provided some great insights into the challenges many young people with additional needs are facing right now and the best ways youth workers can support them.
  • The last in our series of quarantine ideas was published this week; the last post was all about how to run a quiz night with your youth group while in lockdown. The complete series is available on the blog and provides ideas and inspirations for how to plan fun social activities for your group to do together online.
  • Multiple posts came out this week highlighting a range of different online resources and training, for example, Soul Survivor's Loud & Clear course and Dreaming the Impossible's online youth leader gathering.
  • Lastly, if you're concerned about the vulnerable young people in your community, do check out the new report released today by the National Youth Agency. It talks through concerning situations many young people are facing as a result of the pandemic and emphasises the need for a clear exit strategy for young people who are likely to be included in the early stages of release.

As always, we want to thank you so much for your support and if there’s something you’d love to see or even something you want to contribute in coming weeks please get in touch!

 
20d ago.

Out of Sight? - National Youth Agency Report

 

If you're concerned about the vulnerable young people in your community, we recommend reading the new report released today by the National Youth Agency. It draws attention to the pressing needs many young people are facing as a result of the pandemic and calls for a clear exit strategy for young people who are likely to be included in the early stages of release from lockdown measures.

The top-three concerns (found in the report) are:

  • ‘Increased mental health problems’: Over a million young people have self-reported mental health issues. There is a spike in calls to Help Lines, with 84% reporting worse mental health following school closures or being no longer able to access mental health support
  • ‘Missing from education’: With schools only partially open and youth centres closed, as few as 5% of young people are currently engaged in school and have limited or no access to youth work. Even when schools re-open there are 700,000 young people persistently absent or NEET (not in education, employment or training)
  • ‘At risk, at home’: Over a million young people are at risk from any of the so-called ‘toxic trio’ of addiction, mental health, and domestic abuse. Despite this, child protection referrals have plummeted by 50% in some areas.

You can read more and download the full report here.

 
Liveblog nyareport
21d ago.

Download: A Theology for the Rebellion

 

Just over a month ago, Youthscape and St Mellitus held our annual lecture, titled: "A Theology for the Rebellion". We heard from Dr Sarah Williams and Dr Mark Scanlan about how youth workers can help young people navigate periods of unprecedented change. You can download the recording for only £3 on the YS Store - it feels especially relevant right now:

"In and through prayer, we meet the missional challenges of our day." - Dr Sarah Williams

21d ago.

The Big House resources

 

The Big House, an Irish youth organisation, has put together a great video series called "Shaken". Here's their introduction to the series:

"We all feel shaken sometimes. Sometimes difficult things happen and we don’t know what to do, or how we feel. Shaken is a resource is designed to help you make good choices to live well when life shakes you."

 
Liveblog shaken
21d ago.

Podcast: Youth Evangelism

 

We’re creating a special series of the Youthscape podcast, which will continue to appear at semi-regular intervals during the current global crisis.

The latest edition has just gone live; in it, Rachel Gardner talks to Dan Randall about how the importance of mission, and how we can inspire young people to talk to their friends about faith. Martin and Rachel talk about the new Netflix show, "Too Hot to Handle" and some of the implications for young people. Find Rachel's blog post here.

You can listen now here, and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, here.

22d ago.

The Monday Report: Gratefulness, gender and good music

 

Last week we asked you some questions for the Thursday 3x3 - a way to take the temperature of the youth ministry community during the Coronavirus pandemic. Every Thursday at 3pm we ask three questions which will take you no more than three minutes to answer. We had 50 responses, and this is not a representative group, so we can’t generalise from these answers to all Christian youth workers in the UK.

This is a short summary of the Monday report. Head here to see the extended results.

 

1. WE'RE FEELING GRATEFUL, BUT MORE CONCERNED AND LESS OPTIMISTIC

At the end of the first week of lockdown, we asked youth workers to identify up to three feelings they had been experiencing most often. The top three were "overwhelmed’, ‘optimistic’ and ‘thankful".

We repeated the question last week, and ‘thankful’ had jumped to the top of the list, chosen by 44% of the group. Being thankful is a spiritual practice that is particularly important for sustaining mental health during challenging circumstances, and has been shown to be associated with enhanced well-being in numerous studies as well. Coming in second was ‘overwhelmed’ at 34%, and behind that was ‘concerned’ at 30%, which has doubled from 15% in Week 1. Optimism is still present, with 20% highlighting this as one of their top three emotions of the last week – but much lower than the 38% of Week 1.

 
Graph6 monday
 

2. GENDER AND LOCKDOWN: HOW ARE YOUNG PEOPLE RESPONDING?

We asked whether you’d noticed any differences in how young people are managing in lock-down, depending on their gender. First, the caveat. These are perceived differences, so we’re not saying that they are real or true for all young people. Indeed, 14 people said they hadn’t noticed any particular patterns related to gender.

Where differences were described, some were related to perceived patterns of communication: girls are talking to their friends more, while were boys are connecting over gaming. Some saw girls as being more willing than boys to seek support early in the lockdown, while boys appeared to be ‘ok’. For some, this is reversing and girls engagement is trailing off as they find their feet, while boys are now more likely to reach out for support

Boys were perceived to be feeling the absence of sport and physical activity outside, with some youth workers describing young men as being less engaged with video calls than young women. A few people mentioned that girls appeared highly invested in doing well in their education while boys seemed more laid-back in this regard. Finally, there were references to boys feeling bored (and some becoming frustrated and angry), while girls appeared more likely to be independently occupying themselves.

What do we make of this? Well, while gender is likely to be a factor affecting how young people cope with and experience lockdown, it is just one of many. This small sample won’t give us answers but might create the opportunity for you to reflect on your own context and what you have noticed. Do young men and women have different needs at this time? How are we likely to perceive them, and how might that affect what we observe?

These answers just raise more questions, don’t they?

 

3. GIRL (AND BOY) PUT YOUR RECORDS ON

Finally, we asked, "If you could contribute one song to the ultimate lockdown playlist to lift other youth workers' spirits, what would it be?" Half of you went for worship songs and the rest for your favourite uplifting tunes (there are some truly amazing choices in there). So, we’ve made two playlists for you. Enjoy!

 

THE SONGS:

 
 

THE WORSHIP SONGS:

 
22d ago.

We Are Tearfund: Together Podcast

 

Looking for great podcasts to share with young people? We Are Tearfund publish new podcast episodes fortnightly, discussing "how to live out God's call to pursue justice". Check out this recent interview with Pete Greig about prayer and justice:

 
Liveblog tearfundpodcast
 
22d ago.

New blog post: Is TV's Sex Lockdown "Too Hot to Handle?"

 

Netflix's answer to Love Island involves a different kind of lockdown. Rachel Gardner explores what this means for young people. Are the young people you work with watching it? This could be a great opportunity for a discussion. Check out the blog post here.

"One mistake can label you for a long time, especially in some church communities. Little wonder that some young people react like the contestants; if you've been unfairly singled out for a small misdemeanour, you might as well go the whole hog. Oh, and that’s the other thing Harry says as he kisses Francesca, ‘We’re already f*** up, we might as well do the whole lot.’ Sound familiar?"

25d ago.

Quarantine idea #7: Quiz Night

 

Just about everyone seems to have been involved in a video-chat quiz at some point over the last few weeks. It’s a great way of doing something fun as a group while being apart. It’s also a great thing to do as a youth group. You could run it as an outreach or social event and encourage young people to get their friends involved.

If you want to run a quiz for your youth group here are some pointers to help get you started:

  1. While you could opt for the traditional quiz rounds – general knowledge, music, sports, etc – it’ll be more exciting to the group if you include some rounds more specific to them. For example, why not include some questions about the area where you live? You could put up pictures of roads or well-known places and ask them to name them. Or what about a leaders’ baby picture round – match which picture belongs to which leader.
  2. Get inventive with your questions. Keep it fun and interesting but remember who your audience is – make sure there are a few easier questions thrown into the mix.
  3. It’s probably a good idea to keep each round quite short to make sure you are keeping everyone’s attention.
  4. Try and make it as visual as possible. If your video-chat platform of choice has a share screen function, make use of it! Create a PowerPoint and include pictures, logos, etc for the group to identify.

One last thing to mention is a great programme called Kahoot! which allows you to create quizzes online. Questions are viewed on a shared screen and players answer individually on their own devices. For more information and tutorials on how to run a Kahoot! quiz, check out their website.

Happy quizzing!

 
Liveblog quiz
25d ago.

Dreaming the Impossible: Youth Leaders Gathering

 

Dreaming the Impossible are holding a free online gathering for youth workers on Monday 11th May at 7.30pm. They'll have the brilliant Dr Kate Middleton and Matt Summerfield speaking on the topic of: "Leading Young People Through Covid-19". It promises to be an inspiring evening. Sign up here!

 
Liveblog dtievent
25d ago.

Podcast: Young People with Additional Needs

 

We’re creating a special series of the Youthscape podcast, which will continue to appear at semi-regular intervals during the current global crisis.

The latest edition has just gone live; in it Martin Saunders talks to Mark Arnold about the challenges many young people with additional needs are facing right now and the best ways youth workers can support them. BONUS: listen out for a meerkat tangent!

You can listen now here, and subscribe to make sure you never miss an episode, here.

25d ago.

Soul Survivor "Loud & Clear" training course

 

Do you know any young people who want to learn how to be good communicators? Soul Survivor have uploaded their "Loud & Clear" course on their website - you can download materials and watch videos for training in public speaking and communication. This could be a great way to help develop some of the young people you work with. Why not go through the course together?

 
26d ago.

Cook with Youthscape

 

Our local YS team are giving young people across Luton an opportunity to learn to cook, try out new ingredients, experiment with new recipes, and cook a delicious, fresh and healthy meal for the whole family.

Families can sign up for ‘Cook With Youthscape’, every week they will receive a recipe bag which includes all the ingredient they will need to make a tasty meal for everyone in their home. Every pack includes a recipe card and a link to our tutorial video on Youtube - with tips from our very own professional chef!

Trying to find creative ways to stay connected to the young people in your area? Why not get in touch with your local authority and see if they need any help distributing food? There are some ideas in this blog post by YS Luton Director, Jemimah.

 
Liveblog cook
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